Written by George Thomas
Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the street Friday chanting “death to Israel.”
Meanwhile in Austria, Western negotiators and Iranian officials are still struggling to agree on a deal that would curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Both sides are digging in as talks enter a crucial and sensitive time. Secretary of State John Kerry said talks with Iran cannot be open ended.
“We are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever,” Kerry said.
The Iranians shot back, accusing Kerry and other Western negotiators of constantly changing their positions.
“Unfortunately we are witnessing a change of stance and also seeing that several members of the 5+1 countries each have a different stance. This situation has made the work difficult,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
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The United States and its partners missed another deadline Thursday, raising doubts on just how close the sides really are to an agreement.
“There are difficult problems that we still need to solve,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
Chief among them: Iran wants all economic sanctions and a ban on acquiring ballistic missiles to be lifted in return for curbing its nuclear program.
“We have said several times before that a deal and sanctions cannot be combined, and they should choose one of them,” Zarif said.
Western countries are against lifting the arms embargo. The United States considers Iran to be one of the world’s leading state-sponsors of terrorism. Easing economic sanctions and allowing them to start buying long-range missiles will only embolden the regime.
“Those billions of dollars could be funneled to support Iran’s battle to establish a Shiite government in Yemen, re-supply the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and continue to prop up the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” CBN Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell said.
“Many here in Israel and throughout the area feel that would be a high price to pay for a deal,” he added.
The United States said it will not be rushed into any deal.
“We’re going to need to see concrete, verifiable progress toward living up to their commitments on the part of the Iranians before sanctions relief related to nuclear weapons is given,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
But not everyone is convinced the Iranians are on board.
“Iran, by all accounts, still isn’t serious about abandoning its nuclear weapons program,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said.
Any final agreement would need the approval of Congress. So far members of both parties remain skeptical that a good deal can be reached.
SOURCE: CBN News